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A brother who sins

Gospel Reading: Mt 18:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.

If he listens to you, you have won over your brother. If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church. If he refuses to listen even to the Church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector. Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, amen, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Where two or three are gathered together
These words of Jesus seem to refer to praying together. But the context in which they are spoken suggests that they have to do with building fraternity.

First, to build or preserve community, erring brothers must be corrected in a fraternal and diplomatic manner, step by step with mercy and love. Mistakes are to be rectified, not condoned; anything that destroys or hurts relationships is against the will of God. Persons in positions of leadership are responsible for the integrity of the community.

Second, Jesus assures duly constituted leaders of the community that their decisions will be respected also in heaven. Their judgments are binding.

Third, a sign that fraternal correction and reconciliation have succeeded is when the conflicting parties now pray together. God will be happy to grant their petitions. Another fruit of their getting together is the presence of Jesus in their midst.

The last line refers not only to prayer but also to activities like meetings, outings, family reunions, and other happenings done in Jesus’ name and graced by his presence.

Do you believe that Jesus is present when you reconcile with others?

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.